Biden to Sign Order to Shield U.S. Data from China Amid Privacy Concerns

( – On Feb. 28, President Joe Biden signed an executive order focused on protecting the personal information of American citizens from foreign “countries of concern.”

The executive order focuses on personal information being sold by data brokers that collect and trade data, who could potentially sell American citizens information to countries that “have a track record” of misusing the data. It authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland to stop the transfer of Americans’ personal data to such countries without limiting legitimate commerce around data.

It focuses on specific, personally identifiable information such as health, financial, biometric and geolocation data. 

According to the executive order, the countries of concern are listed as Venezuela, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea and Iran. Lawmakers have previously stated they have concerns about U.S. data potentially being amassed by the Chinese Communist Party, which could pose a national security concern. 

The executive order directs the DOJ to put safeguards into place for activities that put the personal information of Americans at risk. The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are required by the executive order “to set high security standards” in order to prevent the countries of concern from accessing Americans’ personal information.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense are required by the executive order to ensure Americans’ health data is not exposed to countries of concern by any federal grants, contracts and awards.

In a statement about the executive order, the White House said such data collected by “bad actors” could use the personal data collected “to track Americans or to “pry into their personal lives,” enabling a violation of Americans’ privacy.

The new executive order comes as lawmakers repeatedly express concerns over TikTok’s access to Americans’ personal information and the company’s ties to China. However, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the executive order “does not cover any one company.”

Copyright 2024,